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West Ham vs Wolves: Antonio, Soucek combine for Hammers’ winner

Tomas Soucek's birthday goal gave West Ham an important win against Wolves to boost the Hammers' European dreams.

West Ham vs Wolves: Tomas Soucek scored the game’s only goal, as the Hammers secured three vital points for their top-four chase at the London Stadium on Sunday.

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The victory pushes West ham back into 5th in the Premier League table, reclaiming the spot from Arsenal (45 points), who also beat Wolves on Thursday, based on goal difference. The Gunners, however, now have three games in hand, with 4th-place Manchester United just two points above them.

Wolves (40 points), meanwhile, probably watched their own top-four dream (as unlikely as it may have been) slip away. They are now seven points back of Man United, with just one game in hand.

West Ham vs Wolves final score, stats, results

Final score: West Ham 1, Wolves 0

Goal scorers: West Ham (Soucek 59'), Wolves (None)

Shots: West Ham 13, Wolves 14

Shots on target: West Ham 4, Wolves 1

Possession: West Ham 39%, Wolves 61%

2 things we learned - West Ham vs Wolves

1. Time to give Antonio a hand up top: For all the goals and special moments that Michail Antonio has provided West Ham in recent years — and there has been plenty of each — it’s becoming increasingly clear that the big man could use a helping hand up top. Antonio himself is hardly a natural fit at the position, but he’s fantastic in combination play anytime someone pushes forward to join him in attack (his assist on Soucek’s goal was a prime example). The problem is: West Ham don’t often get numbers forward to support Antonio (Soucek’s goal an example again), and he’s not one to create chances for himself. Something of a system change would be required, but giving Antonio additional support up top is what’s required for West Ham to take the step from top-four hopefuls/outsiders, to top-four contenders.

2. Wolves hardly a threat: Wolves’ recent run of 6W-1D-2L in their last nine Premier League games was largely built upon airtight defensive displays at one end of the field, while creating just enough on the counter-attack as a result of the defending. West Ham are a tough side to counter, because not only do they match Wolves’ work rate man-for-man, but they also use the defense to set up the attack. That leaves precious little space for counter-attacks, and Wolves aren’t yet advanced enough in their possession play to break those sides down.

Man of the Match: Tomas Soucek - Marked his 27th birthday with the only goal of the game.

West Ham vs Wolves highlights

Tomas Soucek pokes home Michail Antonio’s cross for 1-0 (goal video)

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